It has been a while since I’ve posted about what’s going on with the cancer surgery follow up, clinical trial progress and other general health concerns. There’s been some action that I need to write about. About 3 months ago I found a lump toward the back of the left side of my neck. My ever-vigilant medical oncologist, Dr. Andrew Pippas in his most intense mad scientist way was all over it. He’s just so focused, looking over and through his stylish glasses, poking and prodding, measuring and eyeballing the situation. He proclaimed that it didn’t feel like something ominous and it wasn’t in a place where something ominous might likely be. A month later, the little lump was still there and I asked him about it again.
He could tell I was concerned about it and so he arranged an appointment for me with Dr. Dan Blankenship, a new local ENT physician and after meeting with him I was scheduled for an MRI of the neck, which I had done last week. The analysis of those scans revealed that there is nothing going on in my neck. I’m relieved and out of the woods just in time to get the next bout of pre-scan jitters in April.
The other thing that is going on that I haven’t blogged about is the upcoming appointment with Dr. Raj Alappan, my nephrologist, to get the straight skinny on my right kidney. For those of you who may not have been reading my Care Pages, which this blog is replacing, I had a little contest to come up with a name for my remaining kidney and Ben and Sheron Williams of St. Simons Island, Ga. came up with the great winning name, Strainer. For their creative winning name, they won a subscription to Columbus and the Valley Magazine, which they’re now enjoying.
Yesterday morning, I reported to The Medical Center lab and was greeted by a very nice woman named Rose. She’s a 26-year veteran at TMC and she sized me up and asked me, “Is this the first time you’ve been to this doctor?” It was, I said. She was looking at the lab order form that was covered in check marks, indicating the multitude of tests that my doc had ordered. “This might take a few minutes,” she said, and she diligently worked to make sure nothing was missed.
“We gettin’ all the butter from the duck this mornin'” she said. I said, “That’s a new one, Miss Rose.” “Yep, back in the day on the farm we’d use every bit of whatever it was we were killing. Chickens, pigs or ducks, she said, “we’d get all the butter from those ducks!” What a nice lady! I also had to suffer through a 24-hour urine collection project the day before yesterday. I’ve always been an overachiever and this project was no exception. I had to add a supplemental buttermilk carton to get the job done. It is blast walking the halls of a hospital at 7:15 in the morning schlepping a Lewis Jones bag containing 7 or 8 pounds of pee. I highly recommend it.
After I left the lab, I went over to radiology where I was recognized by the young woman behind the counter. Let me tell you, you know you’ve arrived when the people at your local radiology department call you by name! I had an ultrasound of my abdomen and a nuclear medicine test to determine how well Strainer is filtering my blood. With these tests, I hope I’m finished for a while. I’ll meet with Dr. Alappan next week and then and only then will I know the real story about how well Strainer will sustain me. If two jugs of pee are any indication, I think I’m doing pretty well. Now, you’re caught up on all of this stuff and I hope I’m able to forget about these co-payments and appointments for a while. The one thing I do know — I made out better than Miss Rose’s duck.